Tonight’s feature is entitled “War of the Planets.”
How’s that for originality? Apparently
it was earlier called Terrarium or something like that, but producers feared
people might think it would be about snails so they went for the aliens
One thing that intrigued me when I picked this up was the back of the box description. It said some astronauts crashed on a planet, like they’re always doing, and they end up trapped in their cryo-statsis tubes and have to watch while a monster eats them. So, people wait while a monster strolls in casually and eats them, one at a time, while they can do nothing except complain. Now, I don’t want to seem dumber than I usually am, but this sounds both sadistic and dull. But no one would make a movie of just that, would they? Let’s find out! Together! Hey, where are you going!
And a nice logo for “Lighning Entertainment” comes up, then we go into the real movie, with the synth soundtrack all ominous and the names of the actors pooping out from the sides as we fly past some planets. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to recognize these planets, but it kind of looks like we’re flying from Earth, past the Moon, then to Mars, and then to some rather non-descript bits. Then we swivel past Earth again, um, cos we were just kidding I suppose. And then after the actors, we get our title, and some more planets. One of the minor actors is called “Foster Boom.” I wonder if he’s any relation to Foster Brooks?
There are lots of actors in this one. “Brittni Mrozek” gets the special guest credit. Mike Conway, who was an actor, wrote our music too. And more credits and more planets…it sure looks like the same planets over and over again, I guess they shouldn’t let Captain Morgan drive. That’s a joke. The camera swivels and swirls and finally, we find out that Mike Conway also wrote and directed.
And the first thing we see, the exterior of a spaceship with an antenna watching for stuff. I guess it wasn’t watching for big rocks, because a meteor comes along and smacks it good, breaking it into bits (but fortunately not damaging the ship). Inside, a screen says “Malfunction.” Apparently, because the “sensor dish” detected an “impact” the ship will automatically make an emergency landing. It’s heading toward a big yellow planet with some huge moons. By the time it lands, the planet is a dark blue. And the ship roars over the surface. The CGI here is on the level with desktop computer, though not bad for all that; it’s just not really convincing of reality. But it gets the job done.
As the skip skids to a halt—in what clearly looks like a miniature—we’re told the hull is compromised. Didn’t they lower the landing gear? Finally, it comes to rest. “Stasis Interrupted,” we’re told, and we some guy waking up in a pool of water. He flashes back to “15 years earlier” when he was jogging along in the suburbs. So he really likes jogging. An inaudible voice speaks as well, then we watch him almost get hit by a camper. He didn’t like this, I gather.
Next, we see some aerial shots of the “Tau Ceti Probe” the first ship to reach another star. And the crew are getting ready for the press conference. Something's wrong with the sound here, as the Space Agency Director’s lips are moving, but I can barely hear him. Let’s see if this is a technical difficulty or the director realizing most of us don’t care.
Audio problem on my end. Okay, just to catch up, when the guy was jogging, the female voice was saying how he was a bad husband and father, and he wasn’t there when Melissa died, and someday this will all “hit you” she finished, just as the truck almost hits him. Man, a directorial flourish! Wow. I hope.
When we swirl around the probe, a voice tells us the Tau Ceti Probe was launched 30 years ago, and this is archive footage of those golden times. The voices, newscasters I gather, talk about how this probe found an earth-like planet, and we’re just now hearing about it now. So I guess the crew has assembled to send another one? Or is this the first one, or…um…stuff?
The Space Director says the 20th century was important for science, and he lists a few reasons why. He then says that we’re going to meet 12 people “who will be the first to travel beyond the solar system, in a state of suspended animation,” so I guess this is still 30 years ago.
We then hear the various astronauts talk about what they’re going to do—found a colony, keep it going for future ships, etc. They talk about what they’ll do when they get there, how they have what they need, blah blah. Funniest moment comes when one guy, who talks very fast, is asked to repeat what he said because the reporter couldn’t follow it. The guy agrees to repeat and…we cut away to someone else.
Finally, the space director notes that the team assembled is “an awesome team of people” and the crowd cheers like they’re expecting “Free Bird” next. And we fade to black.
We then watch the CGI lift off. Jogger eats a sandwich with a little girl, and I guess they’re not watching the launch, because I think he was supposed to be on board. So this is more flashback. Anyway, he got a really bad sandwich, and he starts to choke, and the little girl looks concerned like she might miss TV or something. A woman appears and tells him, in a weird voice, “Breathe…breathe, Carl.” And he nods like this is a good idea. Then the image all solarizes and we’re out of there, back in the cryo-stasis tubes. Carl spits up some fluid. And a speaker tells him to breathe, in the same voice. It was the hard-to-understand guy. Eventually, Carl wakes up, and some of the other astronauts note that they landed by autopilot and there’s damage. Everyone’s still cocooned up in their little chambers.
Someone says that someone else should tell Carl about Rita. She’s not in her chamber, and there’s blood on the glass. The guy in the bunk above her looks pretty nervous.
Carl asks if anyone can see her, and some other woman says she sees “debris” in the hall, like the “wall has been pushed in.”
”No a pleasant way to wake up,” someone else notes. They can all move their heads and use their throats to talk, so I’m not sure why they’re still in their chambers. The Engineer guy says they are supposed to open automatically, once the air pressure is normal. Well, with a hole in the wall, not sure what “normal” means…
Someone else asks if there’s a manual override. You know, in case someone feels like hitting the cola machine and doesn’t want to get their sleep chamber all bloody. “Not from in here,” says the Engineer. Really? That doesn’t seem too wise.
Another someone else notes that this talk isn’t very reassuring. Carl asks for the chatter to be cut, and he asks the “Minister” for his thoughts. I think he is an actual religious person of some persuasion or another, as in the press conference he offered the “science” and “God” had to meet out in space, or something. (I wasn’t paying attention.)
At any rate, he says that as long as there’s life, there’s hope, etc. Doc Hardtounderstand says that they should be receiving the right muscle stimulants, etc, to allow them to force the doors open on their own. So far, though, no one can do anything other than raise their heads and talk.
One someone else, who’s blonde, says she can see someone by the debris near the wall. The others think this is cool, and ask for descriptions. But none are forthcoming, and an ominous POV advances toward one of the crew…she screams that “it’s not a man” and she continues to scream as some hairy arms break through the chamber walls and grab her.
Crunchy noises come over the loudspeaker, and screams and stuff, but yet some other person insists that the attacked person is still alive. “What is it doing?” someone yells.
”It’s devouring her, Robert,” says Carl. Finally, the thing moves off and carries Dead Snack with him. Her. It.
”We’ve gotta kill that thing!” says someone, and someone else says, “Just—shut up a minute!” Then we see a pan across the bloody chamber. Just in case we thought it might have been hanging piñatas or something.
Another different someone else asks if that’s what happened to Rita, and Carl thinks “yes.” So that brings down the mood quite a bit, as you might imagine.
So, Carl takes charge and asks who woke up first. Some gal says it was probably her, and she already saw Rita’s empty cube. Carl asks the Doc how long ago that might have been.
”There is blood on her glass,” Doc says, “so she would be reanimated…that would be about fifteen hours ago.” As best as I can translate. (He is hard to understand.)
They ask what kind of thing it was, “ape or primate,” and Valerie (biologist) says, “Carnivorous.” Oh. That’s a big help. I was still thinking piñatas, silly me. “Bipedal humanoid. It feeds alone. Not in a group. The fact that it eats its prey while it’s…still alive…would suggest that it wants warm, fresh food. And takes the rest to save.” That seems a bit contradictory to me, but you know, low budget and all.
”Do you think it will come back?” asks some dope who has NOT been paying attention. “And when?”
Valerie figures it will be back, as humans eat three meals in a fifteen hour time frame, so maybe this thing will be back, “judging by the size of it” in about five hours.
”What about the bodies it took? Don’t you think it’ll eat those first?”
”It will deplete the fresh food source first,” Valerie says. No one is really happy to hear these things.
They ask what the religious guy thinks, and he suggests exercise. “If we don’t get strong enough, nothing else matters.”
Doc Hardtounderstand suggests isometric exercises. Everyone clenches their fists together and stuff. They pull off their gloves and get to work. Good for them. And we get a long bit about them flexing their arms and getting ready to thumb-wrestle this meanie from the stars. Well, at this point, I am guessing.
We fade, and folks are now able to do leg-lifts. So they are somewhat happy. Though frustrated by their lack of variety. “If I ever help design a ship again these bunks are going to have video games in them!” says Engineer.
But suddenly there are alarming noises, which alert the rest of the crew. They all get quiet, though a panicked kind of quiet, as the monster (I’m guessing) is hungry again.
No one else seems to take much comfort from this imparting of knowledge. It seems to settle on Valerie, the biologist…which is one of the few folks we had names for, way to go, movie. We watch one crewwoman huddle in terror as Valerie is attacked and eaten. She decides to unhuddle as Valerie is scraped against her cubicle window, and Religious Guy starts doing the Our Father. This doesn’t calm her much, if at all. I rather suspect it doesn’t calm much of anyone. But that may just be my own opinion.
One woman is sobbing a lot, and another asks why the creature is only attacking the women. Captain Carl says it’s probably just coincidence. Another woman thinks it somehow sensed the women more easily, or something, because “it reacted to their sound and movement.” Uh, what? She goes on to explain, “Debbie called it over to her. Valerie woke up, not knowing it was standing there…”
”What about Rita? She was sleeping!”
Other Woman has no answer to this, but one guy says, “I think Dina’s on to something.” Well…okay, if you say so. “It’s like a dog. It gets excited when it sees something move. Then it goes after it.”
Other Other Guy says, “Then the next time it comes in, we have to divert it from the women.”
Other Other Other Guy says, “So which guy gets to divert it?”
The first Other Guy says, “Any of us,” as if that’s the most DUH answer ever. “All of us!”
”Please, gentlemen,” says a lady, “don’t do me any favors.” Like save me from a monster or like that, I guess she means.
Another lady points out that “There’s not going to be anyone left to make a colony,” which is a good point.
Dina points out that they’re getting stronger, though that hasn’t helped (that’s me pointing that out). She wants to talk about getting out of the cryo-stasis tubes. She asks if “Leonard” has “given up.”
Leonard, who has a tiny beard, says, “No, I’m thinking!” through his clenched teeth. So Dina asks the Captain “what’s the plan if we do get out?”
He notes that getting to the “storage module” is number one, since all the “food and weapons are there.” He asks who is “good with a gun.”
Leonard says he is, he used to hunt every year. He gets some questioning about this but answers well.
Another guy says they need solid food. Captain Carl says yeah, great, but they don’t have enough strength to smash their way out. So the guy says, maybe
Some other guy says that
Yeah, great. Another lady asks Dr. Hardtounderstand why he came on the mission, and he talks about that. Apparently there was some kind of tragedy because some lady says she feels sorry for Dr, and says it sounds similar to Captain Carl’s story. Stimulated, she says she read about how Captain Carl lost his little girl. She tells how the little girl was abducted and murdered, and Captain Carl quit the space program.
He says his obsession was the problem, and Another Lady says he’s not responsible. Great, and let’s have more chips. Captain Carl says he was “twenty minutes late” picking up his daughter, and that made every difference. You know the drill.
Another Lady relates her own history, which included “an overdose, a suicide attempt, and a stint in a psych ward,” and stuff like that. Oh…great material to send beyond the stars! She’s curious about how normals felt about leaving all this, since what she left was pretty substandard. Belch. Sorry! That was me.
A voice over the intercom system asks what I was asking, “How did she get through the screening process?”
Captain Carl avers how “I’m sure not everyone is running from something, Kim,” then he goes on to mention how unfit he is.
He’d like to blah more, I’m sure, but the monster shows up. And some guy who looks like Will Farrell starts yelling for the monster to “get away from her!” and others start yelling too. Including Confession Lady. But the monster chooses Will Farrell and rips him out of his cubicle, and starts chomping on his leg, just to show he means bizz-ness. Buzzy-ness. Business.
But then, it decides Will Farrell is too weak a snack, so it grabs Confession Lady too. But it drops Will Farrell in the process, so now he can rescue them despite having a big bite in the foot-leg area. Leonard tells Will Farrell how to get to a laser cutter to free the others. And he slinks along and gets to the right locker, and then slinks back.
Just then, the monster comes back! But then it goes away again. Because…um. Uh. *Cough* Hi!
Will Farrell tries to burn open some guy’s chamber. Captain Carl lets us all know that means toxic gas. (Not enough to kill Will Farrell, it must be noted). So Will Farrell sets to work. He frees some guy, and Captain Carl orders the Dr. freed next. So they do that. The music tries to get tense. Doc Incomprehensible gets freed in the purple gas as Captain Carl insists no one make a sound. He tells them, “Get the others, first.”
Next, we see them crawl, slug-like, along the corridor. One guy complains he’s right next to where the creature appears, so Captain Carl says he’s next. Eventually, all the weak folk get out of the chamber and into another room. Just as the monster appears! They all shut the door quickly, and Captain Carl orders the window covered with duct tape. Yeah, that’ll work!
Dr. Cantunderstandhim starts to work on Will Farrell. Then we fade. Fade in as some guy is looking at navigational charts, while others are doing exercises. Outside the door, the monster gurgles.
”Your hair looks the same whether you have cryo-fluid in it, or not,” says the Black Chick.
”That’s what they tell me,” says Captain Carl.
”Leonard” tells everyone that the sensor array was destroyed, so their landing wasn’t the best ever. Outside, the monster starts letting everyone know he’s still hungry, and Captain Carl urges calm. After a moment, the noises stop, and Captain Carl offers how this means the creature will give up and go somewhere else. Since it feeds every five hours, it won’t wait a day and a half. (That’s what he says.)
Another chick talks about what she would make for everyone. A nicely seasoned salmon. Will Farrell says he doesn’t like hearing about food he can’t have. Another person tells him thanks for saving everyone.
Later, Captain Carl checks the duct tape window, and he says it should be okay to make a run for the food and the guns. Me, I smell trouble. Sure enough, the creature was waiting right outside, and it attacks. The doors are closed immediately, trapping Captain Carl, um, some other guys, and maybe another guy in the clutches of the monster.
After a moment, slightly bearded guy orders the door opened, and we see a severed arm. Slightly Bearded Guy goes out and orders the door closed behind him. Which it is. Slightly Bearded Guy goes down the corridor to another storage room, and just when the door to that opens halfway, the monster appears and Slightly Bearded Guy pops inside. He starts fooling with a container.
At the other end of the hall, the door is open, and while everyone yells at the monster to get away from Slightly Bearded Guy, Black Guy goes into the hall. I have to note that the walls look like rock walls, but heck, low budget and all I guess.
All the while, Slightly Bearded Guy is pulling out a pistol, then he fumbles for bullets. Finally, he loads a clip and empties a few shots into the monster.
”It’s dead,” he tells the others. Oh yeah right.
Turns out, Captain Carl is still alive. Slightly Bearded Guy almost shoots him but doesn’t at the last moment. He thanks “
So, they all go…outside, it looks like, to “get something to eat.” And we see some nice planet paintings in the sky. And they’re going outside. Because I guess there’s no food where they were, just guns. (Which I hope they loaded and distributed.) (I also hope they drafted a stern letter to the Space People about lack of food. I know what you're thinking, the monster ate it all. But the monster only liked fresh bloody food! Ha ha, I've destroyed your argument!)
Black Guy finds…something which bothers him. Looks like a smooth glass wall.
Turns out, it IS a smooth glass wall, which surrounds the entire ship. “This is why that creature never went away…it couldn’t!” says Captain Carl. He wants the glass wall cut with lasers.
”Somebody made this to study us,” says Slightly Bearded Guy.
Later, Captain Carl breaks it to the rest of the crew that there’s a glass wall around everything, and “the laser can’t even cut through it.” “Let’s have another look at this thing,” he tells them.
Everyone agrees that the monster couldn’t have been intelligent to build the barrier, but he orders Dr. Cantundersandhim to do an autopsy on the monster.
Outside, Slightly Bearded Guy and Short Haired Chick toss rocks that the barrier, and determine that it isn’t all the way high.
They haul the monster body out and toss it down. Dr. Cantunderstandhim says he’ll know, soon, if the monster ate everyone else. Short Haired Chick comes back and notes that there isn’t a ceiling to the tank. Will Farrell asks if that means there isn’t a floor, too. So they could dig out. If there wasn't a floor. But Black Guy says whoever built the cage would probably “intervene” to stop an escape attempt.
Will Farrell notes that if they started the tunnel inside the ship, no one outside would know. And Captain Carl says, “Stealth is good.” So I guess that’s the new plan.
Later, Slightly Bearded Guy notes that since they’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it will be night for a while more. Wow! Talk about having some brains! And Dr. Blahblah says he’s found out some stuff. The monster “has far too small of a brain” to have built the barricade. Also, no human remains were found in the creature’s stomach.
”Do you think they’re studying us?” asks Short Haired Chick. “Dissecting the bodies?”
”That’s exactly what I’m thinking,” says Captain Carl.
Slightly Bearded Guy says they “need to reveal as little about ourselves as possible,” but Dr. BlahBlah intervenes. Seems the monster’s body has disappeared. What, did he turn away from it for a second? If so, that means "The Others" are already in the compound and thus probably aware of any plans.
They note how it appears to have been dragged away. So, they look for aliens with their infrared goggles. But don’t see anything. So Captain Carl establishes a watch, with everyone armed and he makes the communication channels clear. This, they now do.
Later, Slightly Bearded Guy appears in the cockpit where Short Haired Chick is trying to sleep. They banter a bit. She wanted to be a pioneer, but “I’m embarrassed at how afraid I am.”
”You don’t have anything to be embarrassed about,” says Slightly Bearded Guy. “Look at me, I’m he ship’s engineer, and I can’t get us out of this!”
”You killed that thing! We owe you everything for that!”
”You don’t owe me anything,” he says.
”You’re no fun,” she says.
They chatter a bit, then hold hands. Awww. I'm glad someone thought we need all that.
Cut to outside, where the Black Guy says that maybe humans are “like ants” to the folks who built the glass wall. Will Farrell sees something in his night vision goggles, and he asks Black Guy to take a look. Black Guy does, and sees a figure against the desert. “It’s just standing there…they look just like us.”
Except in the very close-up view he gets next, which shows they look like rocky orangutans. Then he screams to indicate his death. Will Farrell calls for backup, and they all show up. But Black Guy is not found. Other than his infrared glasses.
Will Farrell asks Captain Carl to tune to Black Guy’s frequency. He hears alien talk on this. Everyone is weirded out by this. Short Haired Chick thinks she saw something out there, and Slightly Bearded Guy is ordered to “kill the floodlight.” Out in the wilderness, Will Farrell sees someone. He radios this to Captain Carl. Captain Carl orders Slightly Bearded Guy to put on the floodlights when the word is given.
The word is given, and Black Guy runs up to the glass wall and shouts that, “They’re coming!” but no one can hear him. Captain Carl orders the shovels brought out. Black Guy writes in the sand, “I killed one” but an orangutan appears and lasers him dead. This sobers them all. They all run back into the spaceship and close the doors.
”When is this going to stop?” asks Black Chick.
”It stops when we’re dead, or when we stop it,” says Captain Carl. He goes on to outline his plan, which is to tunnel outside the barrier from within the ship, thus unknown to the aliens, and bring some supplies with them, too, because the bad aliens will retaliate against the ship, destroying remaining supplies, so, they should all prepare to live outside. I thought they were out of food anyway?
They note their grim circumstances. Slightly Bearded Guy says they should lure the aliens to the ship, then turn it into a giant fireball. Black Chick says that’s suicide. Slightly Bearded Guy says that if they take the “condenser” with them, the only thing they’ll miss is “these chairs, and a decent bathroom for a while.”
First thing they have to determine is, is the barrier all the way under the ship? So they start tunneling to see.
”You’re not just trying to impress me, are you?” Short Haired Chick asks Slightly Bearded Guy.
”How, by throwing dirt in your face?” Slightly Bearded Guy says.
”It’s the way you throw it, Mr. Parks,” Short Haired Chick answers.
And some stuff gets put outside, by Dr. BlahBlah and Black Chick, as Will Farrell guards. He wishes he could help, but Dr. Cantunderstandhim says something incomprehensible as a comforting balm.
And, according to Captain Carl, the tunnel extends beyond the alien barrier. Hooray, etc. He, Captain Carl, will go on from here while he orders Slightly Bearded Guy and Short Haired Chick to take a rest.
Cut to Slightly Bearded Guy and Short Haired Chick together, fully clothed, while she sleeps clomped against him. He looks thoughtful.
Later though, everyone is together, discussing what to do. They know they are ten feet beyond the barrier. Once outside, they need to shoot a lot, at aliens, and fast. And accurately. Slightly Bearded Guy says he has set the fusion reactor to detonate by remote control.
Black Chick asks about the blast radius, and Slightly Bearded Guy says less than a quarter mile, and Captain Carl says the whole planet is unknown so they don’t know if this “terrarium” bit is from an isolated group of creepy humanoids, or planet-wide. But they’ll “keep fighting.” Captain Carl goes on about hunting skills, and trackers. And how he’ll be the last out so he can set “the relays.”
And we cut to an outside place that, I think, shows the cutting part of the plan coming to fruition and stuff. Captain Carl tells Will Farrell and Butch Chick that they’ll be the snipers.
Leonard pops up out of the tunnel, but he sees a Deadly Alien so he pops back down out of sight. If we weren’t discouraged already, that might have been suspenseful.
Monitoring Chick notes that the aliens, now numbering two, are moving away. So Leonard goes on. Captain Carl pops up as bait, and Leonard shoots both the bad aliens. Okay then.
SO Leonard and some other guy “move out” and Captain Carl tells Black Chick and Dr Hardtounderstand to move supplies from one place to another. They agree to do this. Some chick wanders into a storage area, and we...cut to the guys with the night vision ogles looking nervously at the landscape.
Leonard talks about using weapons. “Nicole” says her experience is limited to having “dated a cop once.” “Good enough,” says Leonard. Leonard asks if the assembled armed folk are comfortable, and they insist that they are.
They’re about to tunnel out from beneath the spaceship. Leonard, in the meantime, has found “a subterranean structure” which he thinks would be “a good place to be during the explosion.” Somehow I doubt that, but I’m not an astronaut so there. They decide to move all the supplies there. Leonard figures “it’s the last place they’ll look for us.” Um, why? Presumably they know it’s there…
Later (I guess) they’re all wondering if they need to blow up the ship after all, since it’s been really quiet lately. Captain Carl decides to arm the relay anyway.
Outside, the Doc is pointing a flashlight around. He’s been warned that it makes him really visible, but he says he’s looking for some bags that he left just right there. Captain Carl, listening in, looks worried.
Doc stands around a bit, and gets shot. “This place is swarming with aliens!” says one of the snipers. Fortunately, the aliens are pretty damn stupid; they wander around without trying to be stealthy and they get shot down pretty easily. Captain Carl is warned that one alien is in the tunnel. We get some more gunfire bits, and occasionally the alien’s sparkler bullets get close to hitting, but otherwise the snipers take out alien after alien. Captain Carl closes the tunnel door and orders the snipers to retreat to the ravine.
Gee, why? A few more minutes and they’ll have decimated the aliens without any danger.
A sparkler bullet takes out the male sniper. The female goes nuts, starts crying, tears off her night vision goggles and starts howling how he’s dead and everything. Captain Carl says he’s going to detonate the ship. One of the aliens gets in and somehow keys in the door combination and opens it…because he’s good at guessing, I imagine…and Captain Carl shoots him. More aliens get inside, though. Captain Carl runs for the tunnel.
Outside, Leonard and female sniper meet up. Black Chick is playing the bright flashlight over the entrance to the alien structure. She finds a window buried under the soil.
Captain Carl makes his daring escape from the tunnel, accompanied by a heroic fanfare and a hail of sparkler bullets. And he blows the ship up, I think with an alien inside. Hooray for Captain Carl!
Of course, the detonation shatters the window Black Chick was looking in, and she falls into the chamber. She’s a bit shook but otherwise okay. She hears a voice from “Kim” who I don’t remember who that was. Kim is saying she’s okay but can’t move. Black Chick goes off to explore with her flashlight and find Kim.
She does, and Kim is a gory mess. She looks like she’s been feasted on a lot. “Don’t let it touch me again,” she asks of Black Chick. Black Chick makes a couple of sweeps with the light but doesn’t see anything, while Kim insists “it” is still around. Finally, Black Chick sees an alien, which jumps at her and she shoots it dead. Captain Carl and the others show up then. Black Chick starts crying and sobbing, and then it’s morning.
Female Sniper and Black Chick talk about how there wasn’t anything that could have been done. About Kim I'm going to guess.
Leonard, looking over some rocks, tells Captain Carl over the radio that he doesn’t see anything but “bleak landscape.” Captain Carl says he oughta come down where he is, about two kilometers away. “This better be good,” Leonard says, and Captain Carl, looking over a river and some trees, says it’s “Real good.” We pan up into the sun, and…it’s the end.
It is? Well, guess with water and some plant life, they have a chance at survival...but I dunno, it kind of seems like this is where the film might have started. Unless they were all hoping for a sequel.
We get some more credits, then, “Filmed and edited by Mike Conway.” Timothy S. Daley was Captain Carl, Jason Hall was Leonard, Shae Wilson was Black Chick, James Hendrickson was Will Farrell, Carlos Marroquin was Dr. Hardtounderstandhim, Mike Conway himself played a role, and there were others.
And most of our cast did double duty, as aliens, set construction, cinematography, and so forth. Filmed around
Well, I have to say this: it wasn’t boring. They didn’t go with the usual low-budget, bad monster suit solution and say, “Who cares?” They put a lot of thought into the writing of this. More than the usual low-budget thing.
Just, I fear, not enough thought.
Mike Conway clearly has some talent, and some ambition. What he seems to lack is the sharp editor's eye that can focus his ideas into something a little more...well, focused. He has the ideas and some interesting ways of presenting them. So, he's got the ideas, and the dialogue, the characterization, a nice way with staging, good pacing, and a good sense of how to spend his money. It just seemed like he was trying to trying to fit the entire first season of "Lost In Space" into a single movie. There was just too much going on, here. Maybe a little focus...like, defeating the big eating person...would have been good, and the rest of the stuff...the bad aliens outside...could have been dealt with in a sequel. You know, if a first film is good enough, people might look forward to a sequel, where peripheral questions raised could be dealt with in a nice closing arc. As it is presented here, that monumental structure kind of keeps the excitement, the idea of progressing from one goal to another, a bit dampened. Still, there were a lot of good things here. Perhaps not enough to offset the bad things, but at least they were there and that counts for a lot when some guy is making a movie in his backyard and has to tell everyone to keep going.
Mike Conway is a guy with talent, and I would love to see where he goes next. Like Christian McIntyre, I'm glad I found his work, and I'll keep an eye out for his name.
What he needs is a
producer who'll sit on him and keep him on track. Some guy with jewelry
and a cell phone. I can see it now: "Mike? Mike.
Mike. You're beautiful, Mike. Have I told you guys how I love this
guy? Mike. Mike. You need to focus. That's right,
focus. Let's tell this story, and then worry about the next story.
Finish one thing before you start another, that's good advice, Mike.
Mike. Mike. Focus."
Or something. I'm sure we'll hear a lot from this guy in the future. But that doesn’t change the fact that the most original and interesting part of this film is, basically, that it's a horror story told from the perspective of a twelve-pack of beer.